Tuesday, February 1, 2011

First Ten Statistics

I've now reviewed ten movies here at Reverse Bechdel, and I've been doing this for about a month. I've learned a few lessons and gathered a few statistics, so I figure it's probably about time to do some early analysis. First, a quick run-down of the movies reviewed so far:

MovieYearOB LevelRB Level
Toy Story1995
Toy Story 21999
Toy Story 32010
Alice in Wonderland2010
Iron Man2008
Iron Man 22010
Twilight: New Moon2009
Twilight: Eclipse2010
Total Percentage90%100%
2010 Percentage100%100%

Every movie passed all three levels of the Reverse Bechdel test; all but one movie passed the Original Bechdel test. The one movie that failed the Original Bechdel was Toy Story 2, released in 1999; it passed the first two levels but failed the third. With only ten movies reviewed so far, this is hardly enough to draw any generalizations. Even so, all of 2010's Top Five movies passed both Bechdel tests, some more easily than others.

I've also learned that, while the Bechdel Test provides a starting point for discussion on a movie's approach to gender, it leaves a lot unsaid. Most movies pass both the original and reverse versions quite easily, and this rarely gives any indication of the movie's overall gender dominance. For example, Iron Man passes both tests fairly quickly, yet is overwhelmingly male-dominated; Alice in Wonderland also passes both tests within a few minutes, and although it passes the Reverse Bechdel first, it is female-dominated after the opening scene. Three of the ten movies reviewed so far pass the Original Bechdel first-- the three Twilight movies-- but these are not dominated by either gender. Bella, as the narrator, is in almost every scene, but the two major characters besides Bella are Edward and Jacob, both male (even if they're not "men" in the human sense of the word).

In genre terms, the top four movies of 2010-- Toy Story 3, Alice in Wonderland, Iron Man 2 and Twilight: Eclipse-- were all fantasy movies (yes, I count superhero movies as fantasy). Some would also classify Inception as a fantasy movie. Since the dream-sharing is technology-based, I've classified it as scifi, but there is certainly some overlap between the genres here. Looking forward to the next five, two are sequels to popular fantasy franchises, and without having seen the other three, they certainly look like fantasy movies (but don't judge a movie by its cover). I wonder what this says about our culture...

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